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Memes Monetization and Data Privacy

An image depicting how the company personal can help individuals access any data about themselves held by Cambridge Analytica

Should you be able to access data about yourself?

Targeting memes with personal data (i.e., Facebook reactions) has been suggested as Cambridge Analytica’s low cost “support strategy” for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Brands can use the same or similar tools; in this episode I talk with researcher and personal data entrepreneur Paul Dehaye about data privacy, using memes to “collect” and “share” segments of consumers and the monetization of personal data.

Data About You

Dr. Paul Dehaye wants to liberate (for your benefit) data accululated when brands track your online activities – @hhawk

Dehaye’s Data Liberation Startup

Anonymous Pamphleteers

Digital marketing tools used to sell branded products are also used in Elections.

Policies that protect political speech, including “anonymous pamphleteers,” (link) can also be used to subvert elections.

They say they don’t keep that data – Paul Dehaye

Anonymous Tracking

Policies enacted to protect consumer privacy may also be making it hard for consumers to learn how they are being tracked, monitored, and segmented.

Whither Data Privacy?

It might seem like the primary goal of data privacy is to keep your information safely in your own hands.

Companies “enhance” your personal data and then horde it – @hhawk

The reality is that businesses buy and sell your personal data. Then they segment, cluster, and augment your data with historical and real time information.

They hide what they know about you – @hhawk

The same laws that protect personal data from hackers (and illegal use) also make it hard to discover what large social networks know about you, how they know it, and where the information was found.

Innertrends: Analytics in RL

A few weeks ago I spoke with Claudiu Maraiu (co-founder & CEO) of the SAAS analytics company Innertrends.  Claudiu and I spoke about the ubiquity of tracking and monitoring of consumers.

Claudiu took a clear stand that the industry (and our society) has an ethical dilemma it needs to resolve in RL, Real Life.

I played Claudiu’s observations for Dr. Dehaye hoping that he would be in agreement; (spoiler alert) he was.

Paul and I did a “deep dive” on privacy and tracking – @hhawk

Marketing – A Force for Good

I truly believe that marketing can be a force for good and as beneficial to society as any other profession.

What Facebook Advertisers knows about me and the brands I interact with (Harry Hawk)

Minimalist Shopping

There are many (on the right and left) who view consumerism and corporate commercialism as scourge.

Yes… we could live in a world with 1 brand of toothpaste, soap, candy, coffee, computers, phones, cars, a single restaurant chain and (for Americans and Swiss) 1 brand of guns.

It may be more efficient and even cheaper since presumably there would be billions saved in marketing and advertising.

It might also mess up the economy killing off innovation and freedom – @hhawk

Consumer Choice

I understand the backlash against consumer choice and 100 brands of coffee, and 15 types of Oreos – @hhawk

Freedom to Shop

Marketing doesn’t always encourage us to listen to our “better angels” – @hhawk

I want to be able to pick my own music, food, movies, and mate – @hhawk

Modern Marketing: 1:1 Tracking

Modern marketing requires tracking, monitoring and more. The real question is how do we ethically address these issues.

[Spoiler Alert] Paul has a plan – PersonalData.IO

Marketers and market data companies do want to know what you like or love
– but they also want to know what or whom you hate.

Global Issue

The larger issue here is bigger than stores tracking your visit their web pages; they can also track folks who visit their web pages and drive past their physical locations

Modern marketing tools are being used in elections @hhawk

Push Memes

The 2016 US election and the Brexit vote – Big surprises for many.

What fueled these “surprises?”

The tipping point may have been when campaigns learned to polarize the electorate. Easy polarization means easy segmentation.

Daisy or Daffodil?  – a hard “problem” for marketers – @hhawk

Divide and Conquer

The “right” memes easily split (segment) the population into clearly defined cohorts.

The Power of Hate

Knowing which Memes you like or dislike, share or didn’t share, could be used to classify you.

HRC or DJT? – an easy problem because of the strong negative opinions – @hhawk

Memes On Parade

DJT may naturally enjoy pushing buttons and speaking previously unspeakable thoughts — but they were a huge benefit in the 2016 election cycle – such polarizing messages filter voters.

A polarizing filter cuts through the glaze to see with clarity
  1. Expose people to different memes covering a range of topics: healthcare, regulation, secular organizations, and theology
  2. Gauge their reactions
  3. You may know enough to:

You may also learn enough about them to discourage them, give them false hope, or get them all riled up and “mad as hell.” That’s what I call a push meme.

Campaigning for Democracy

Political speech, including anonymous speech – is the cornerstone of American democracy.

A 1.3+ Billion Dollar Marketing Campaign – Democracy in Action

Data, data privacy, and monetization are key building blocks for our digital age making online sales from Amazon, Uber, and the local butcher efficient and effective

Paul Dehaye

Mathematician Paul Dehaye (PhD Stanford) and I take a deep drive into the digital footprint of the 2016 US Election cycle.

The same tools that make modern markets marvelous may make “Moxie” for malicious meme makers.

Convoluted Truth

Who is Cambridge Analytica – they are part of a company that also trains the military for psychological warfare.

Even marketing experts don’t know what is possible or what really happened – @hhawk

The 2017 US Election –  Really Happened?

There is a lot of debate about what happened, how it happened, and more importantly if it did happen – what levers did they pull? What tools did they use?

Protested (& Protected) Data

There is no easy answer here to regulating marketing tools when we are talking about political speech.

The same law that protects protesters also protects political speakers.

It is possible that Super PACS, Campaigns & Think Tanks shared segmented audiences and used them to support the candidate(s) of their choice.

Hidden Money – Crouching Meme

Hillary’s Mixed Messages

HRC was frequently “dinged” in the press when using different language, focus among stakeholders.

Imagine two groups of voters (A & B)

If voter group A would be discouraged if they learned about Fact X, yet  voter group B would be encouraged – we can use segmented audiences to “suppress ‘Face X” to group A while promoting it to group B.

Where did it all start?

We can blame our modern democracy on the ancient Greeks — Cambridge Analytics had an “ah ha” moment when Cambridge University published a study about Facebook “Likes.”

Like, Wow, Haha, Sad, and other Facebook reactions may only make the research more effective – @hhawk

Cambridge FOI

If you want to go further down this rabbit hole..


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